This is a video I found on Youtube by Curiousinventor.com.
I thought it pretty good since he covers a lot of the important points in soldering. You can apply these same procedures in working with your equipment. This page will definitely grow in information and more videos as soon as I find the time.
I will also include desoldering information since this is just as important. Also knowing what equipment to go with can save you money in the long run as well as aggravation.
In the meantime enjoy this video:
Excellent video, here's the transcript if you want to read through it.
this video will explain the basics of electronic soldering and also answer some questions like what is flux and why is it needed what tip size and shape should I use can I get lead poisoning from the fumes and why is cleaning and tinting the iron tip necessary first this is what not to do putting solder on the iron first and then trying to carry it over to the joint and scrape it off applying solder to the iron and not directly on the parts to be soldered is also ineffective even if you did get the solder to stick to the connection it would likely be an unreliable joint that would easily break with any vibration or temperature changes why isn't the solder clinging to the joint two reasons solder won't adhere to parts that aren't hot enough or parts that are covered with dirt or oxidation in this case I haven't effectively heated the parts enough for them to attract the solder also although you can't see it a layer of oxidation basically rust is covering the parts soldering iron tip and it's preventing the solder from wedding or sticking to anything unfortunately almost all metals oxidize and they oxidize much faster at higher temperatures this is problematic because soldering occurs at higher temperatures and solder won't adhere to oxides the solution something called flux it's basically a weak acid that removes oxides and is so essential for soldering that most solder wire has a core of flux built inside of it after it removes oxides flux acts as a placeholder to keep oxygen away until solder displaces it it also reduces the surface tension of solder to help it spread and acts as a blanket to help distribute heat in the video by putting solder on the iron tip first the flux inside boiled off before I even touch the joint and you could see the difficulty of soldering without flux when you apply fresh solder to an iron the fumes are actually from the flux boiling not the lead lead boils at over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and typical soldering temperatures are only between 600 and 750 degrees however if you do get the solder past 850 degrees the lead will more readily atomized in the small particles that will indeed float in the fumes you're unlikely to get lead poisoning from soldering at typical temperatures but the fumes are still not harmless long-term exposure to solder fumes has been cited as one of the leading causes of occupational asthma here's the correct way to solder a joint first I recommend using a clamp to hold the work and clinching or bending the component leads so that it doesn't move while you're soldering also click the leads before soldering because doing so afterwards can crack joints in some cases you may need to clean the surfaces with fine grit sandpaper if they're heavily oxidized also make sure there's no grease or dirt flux can only remove small amounts of oxides clean the tip using a damp sponge or dry cleaner like this the gold curls are made of soft metal encoded with flux to gently clean the tip without thermally shocking it like a sponge does this can help prolong tip life it's important to have a clean tip because oxides and charcoal flux residues significantly reduce the tips ability to heat up the connection these oxides become harder with time and heat so it's a good idea to clean the tip every time you pick up the iron now add a small amount of solder back to the tip this is called tinning the tip and it helps to transfer heat to the joint and also protect the tip from oxidizing now place the iron so that it can heat up both the component and the pad and add a small amount of solder in between the tip and connection like so this acts as a heat bridge to transfer heat more quickly to the connection now apply solder to the opposite side of the connection there are two reasons you do this one solder will run towards the heat so this helps spread solder over the entire connection to you ensure that the parts are indeed hot enough to form a good joint in a good joint solder doesn't just freeze around the components it actually forms a metallurgical bond with them tin and the solder chemically reacts with copper in the connection to form a connecting layer this will happens if the components are hot enough and you ensure this by melting the solder directly on them try to keep a fresh supply of flux in the connection by continuously adding solder remove the solder wire and then the iron shortly after cover the iron tip thoroughly with solder before putting it back in its stand to keep the iron tip from oxidizing ideally the connection should take only about 2 to 5 seconds to make for typical small components if you're using lead-free solder it'll take longer because the solder doesn't wet or cling to metals as quickly the solder should almost wick into the joints if it seems to be repelled chances are the parts aren't hot enough or clean enough this water droplet on hydrophobic sand is an extreme case of non wetting in the electronics industry and oftentimes hidden cost of components is their solder ability or how easily the solder will cling to them components that have been sitting on the shelf for a long time buildup oxidation layers that can make soldering very difficult and require more aggressive fluxes in general you want to solder quickly because joints become more brittle the longer they're heated parts can also overheat it's a good idea to add a heatsink in between the joint and component for especially sensitive parts like some diodes and transistors finally excess heat can cause the pads and traces to detach from the board after the joint is made it's a good idea to clean it with alcohol or some other cleaner to remove flux residues which can be corrosive and eat away at the board over time this pump bottle conveniently dispenses a small amount of alcohol when pressed down by the brush and keeps the remainder from evaporating some fluxes are labeled no clean and may not require cleaning and others may require water instead of alcohol see the manufacturers recommendations the ideal amount of solder will be enough to thoroughly cover the joint but still let you see the outline of the wires inside so you can make sure the solder adhered to them correctly the solder should smoothly meet all the surfaces almost forming a ramp and should be shiny in appearance unless you're using lead-free solder if the joint is dull and the solder didn't smoothly meet the surfaces chances are you have what's called a cold joint where either the target parts weren't hot enough or they were dirty or oxidized and the solder didn't bond with the metal it's important that the joint not move while the solder is cooling otherwise you may get a joint with a rough surface that looks disturbed or cracked these joints and cold ones may feel solid at first but are likely to break under vibration or compression and expansion from temperature changes worse these connections can work intermittently and be extremely hard to track down later you want to use the largest tip that allows you to reach and heat only a single joint as a rule of thumb choose one that's slightly smaller than the pad you're soldering to a larger tip helps transfer heat faster and also acts as a larger reservoir of heat so the tip doesn't cool off while a joint is being made a chisel shaped tip can heat faster because it has a greater surface area with which to contact the parts I hope this video helped you get started soldering if you have more questions I'll try to help you out on my soldering Q&A; site soldering curious inventor calm thanks